fathom - 9:52 pm on Apr 13, 2012 (gmt 0) [edited by: fathom at 10:33 pm (utc) on Apr 13, 2012]
I know for sure there are ways to make spiders see irrelevant or spamy content and penalize someone but that implies there are issues with the site's code or configuration and can cause duplicate content, invoke error pages for valid links or generate new links and much more, all artificially created pretty quick with the aid of a botnet. But that's not up to Google to fix so I would make sure my site is clean of errors before getting into the conclusion it's the spider's fault.
Website owners generally don't try to get themselves banned or penalized... that happens materially but unintentionally.
Replicating that is not easy. To rephrase... replicating unintentional by intentional means... is a factor you must conclude is included in the mix.
Otherwise, Google isn't smart enough to see through a $200 buck scam. Do you really buy that?
Doing this on your own website where you have unfettered knowledge and experience with and insider data and of course by your own admission you are not a competitor you are the owner - your premise therefore falls short of the mark and is based purely on conjecture. That is, if you can do it to yourself you should be able to achieve that result elsewhere...
IMHO though if you were doing an experiment you would have much more than a posted claim that you did this you would have stats and graphs and... well honestly... when you buy $200 bucks of something for a domain the reasonable explanation for that is your were intentionally promoting the domain not doing an intentional experiment... if the latter is true post the data and the timeline... don't have that? Ya OK - you suck at experiments then.
Clearly if this was an experiment... you haven't finished yet... the premise was "a competitor". The next step is actually doing it.
The reason Google discount links is because it cannot determine who did what in every case.
The fact that you can lose results & traffic for non-link issues means there are more than 1 way for you to lose.
"I know for sure"... a bold statement based on what?
If you are not inside Google on the Webspam team... you know nothing for sure... thus you should say...
"I'm guessing there are ways to make..." as that would be a truthful statement.
I realize that doesn't sound too promising (nor professionally appealing) but it would be the truth nonetheless... thus it is better to not make claims you cannot really support.
I won't rule out that this could happen... but so far in 170 posts no one has provided conclusive evidence to support. What has been provided are half cocked claims by people not involved or website owners doing something to themselves which refute the competitor claim 100%.
Even the OP can't get the story straight. He did a paid link experiment on 1 domain and that supports lost traffic on a completely irrelevant domain that is also considered to be PANDAized... so if loss of traffic is because of PANDA how can the competitor mess with your content?
Here's how... "wishful thinking!"
[edited by: fathom at 10:33 pm (utc) on Apr 13, 2012]